Nine Steps to a Perfect Christmas

The holidays will NOT overwhelm me this year. Money will not mysteriously float out the window. Time will not vanish at the blink of an eye. Everything will fit neatly into my plan and schedule (or else I’ll just ignore it until it goes away).

Start today planning and preparing holiday goodies for friends and neighbors. Freeze anything that might go bad before delivery day. Do one or two items a week. This way I’m NOT on my feet for 48 hours straight just before we make our Christmas Eve goody rounds.

  1. Set a budget and stick to it. That includes food. I know that Thanksgiving costs $110 this year, so I’m planning on something similar for Christmas. The rest of my budget is for gifts, wrapping paper, and Christmas plates/trays (for the goodies).
  2. Send out Christmas cards no later than the second week of December. If I don’t make it by then, I’ll send Easter cards.
  3. Start thank-you notes as soon as Christmas cards come in the mail, that way I am not overwhelmed when I write them and it is easier to make them each more personal.
  4. Clear out the clutter! Have the kids go through their toys to get rid of any they aren’t playing with anymore. This will make room for new stuff (or better yet it will just make room). It is also a good time to straighten the rooms that will be used most during the holidays. If you haven€™t already decorated, then prepare the spaces where the tree and other decorations are going to be going. Get rid of any stacks that have accumulated and find everything a home (or throw it away).
  5. Make a list and check it twice. Who am I buying gifts for this year? Who am I making gifts for this year? Who will be stopping by? Who do are we going to visit (and when)? What am I making? Do the gifts need batteries? The more lists you have, the less likely you are to forget something. The goal is to be through with the crowds a week before Christmas.
  6. Pay your bills as they come in. Now is the time of year when it’s really easy to forget things. Stay ahead of the game and just pay early.
  7. Wrap the gifts as you get them. Don’t wait until the last minute to do all that. Have a place where the wrapping paper can stay available but out of the way.
  8. Enjoy the time – the lights, the music, and the holiday specials. Find the kid that use to experience these things and let her experience them again.

In the end, this holiday is going to happen the way it’s going to happen. Like everything else, all I can really do is plan for the best and be flexible for everything else.

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